Jesus loves me, this I know…
New Bibles for 50 of our kids in Lesotho. They become special treasures!!!!
. . .when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him. . .to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. (NIV) Esther 1:10-12
The book of Esther, like Exodus, deals specifically with persecution of the Hebrew people. The book of Esther, like Song of Songs, does not mention God, but His fingerprints are all over it. This book of the Bible clearly teaches God’s providential care of His people. The fast-moving events that seem to be under the control of men such as King Xerxes and Haman prove in the end to be God-directed for the benefit of His people. Chuck Swindoll describes it this way: “Though God may at times seem distant, and though He is invisible to us, He is always invincible. When God calls the shots, nobody can stop the action!”
The book begins with King Xerxes throwing the party of parties. He gives a great banquet to display his wealth and glory. All his nobles and the military and political leaders of Persia and Media are present. Historical sources confirm huge numbers of guests, as many as 69,574, at banquets put on by the Persian kings. For a full 6 months Xerxes and his guests revel in indulgent eating, excessive drinking, and admiring the vast wealth of the empire. If 6 months of partying isn’t enough, another party is given for all the men from the greatest to the least in the city of Susa. Most likely, tens of thousands more come to join in the festivities.
At the same time that the men are being entertained by the king, Queen Vashti gives a banquet for the women in the royal palace. An unexpected pivotal moment occurs when the King, who is most likely drunk, decides to show off another of his prizes. . .the physical beauty of his queen. Xerxes orders her to come into the banquet hall wearing her royal headdress for his drunken guests to enjoy and envy. Some scholars suggest that meant that Vashti was to be unveiled before the guests, while other scholars think it meant wearing only to her crown.
The brave queen refuses. She chooses to not degrade herself before the king’s drunken guests. The consequences of her decision: disgrace and dismissal. She loses her position of queen. But, she is brave enough to say “No! This is blatantly wrong!”
When you are faced with doing something that is blatantly wrong how do you react? Will you compromise more when your job or your reputation is at stake? Are you willing to take a stand, the right stand, no matter the consequences? Queen Vashti stood up to the king. Would you have done the same?
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (NIV) Isaiah 55:10-11
Anchor Your Life has been up and running on the Internet since 1997. I love hearing from our readers! Here are a few of the emails I’ve received over the years.
“I’ve been receiving your daily emails since 2000. I just want to thank you for your effort and perseverance in maintaining your website, especially the section of the ‘Thought For The Day’. It has been a daily source of inspiration. I look forward to reading it each morning after I spend my quiet moment with the Lord. Finally, I’ve also started your Bible reading calender this year.” Joyce – Singapore.
“I have been receiving Anchor Your Life in my e-mail for over 3-years now. There are many days when the message that is shared fits right into where I’m at in my life. Whether I’m needing comfort, encouragement, a lesson, or love – whatever my need is on that particular day or hour Anchor Your Life fits right in. That’s how I know that Anchor Your Life is God-filled and God-directed. I have been able to use your teaching as part of the jail ministry that I am active in. When I find myself waiting for what the Lord would have me teach while preparing a lesson, the message from Anchor Your Life fits right in as a confirmation.” Debbie – USA
“I am probably like a number of your readers. I work in IT and my day is full of emails and telephone calls. For me the “Thought Of The Day” provides an important balance – alkaline to the acid of daily life if you like. Your email arrives in my inbox just like any other email and sits there among the problems and challenges of my day. The value to me is the balance you bring to a hectic pace – an opportunity to pause for a minute or so and read something non work-related and a million miles (seemingly) from my daily challenges. A peaceful space, a pause for reflection, a reminder to examine my values and a gentle guidance when dealing with others.” Keith – Australia
“I have been receiving the “Thoughts for the Day” for about 3 years and I read it first thing every morning in the office before the day gets going…some of them have really hit home and I print them and read them over and over…you and your team are doing a wonderful job of teaching and spreading the knowledge we all need to learn and know more about…thanks and keep on doing what you are doing.” Tom – USA
“I wanted you to know how much Anchor Your Life has touched and guided in my life. I find that it many times relates to exactly the kind of situation that I am experiencing in my life. It is as if God just sends the right words at the right time through Anchor Your Life. I am the director of the lay counseling ministry at my church and have printed out and used Anchor Your Life many times in counseling others. Thanks for allowing God to use you to minister to others!” Joy – USA
Many of you indicated that you use the material from Anchor Your Life for Bible studies, small group studies, choir devotionals, church bulletins. . . even sermons! You’ve used the content at Christian coffee houses, in jail ministries, for Youth groups, for dorm floor devotions. But, perhaps the most creative use of the devotionals came from a woman who selects specific messages, makes a dozen copies on colorful paper, places them in her desk drawer at work and gives them to everyone who visits her – the postman, the paper boy, the cleaner, the plant keeper. All I can say is keep on keepin on with sharing God’s Word with those around you!
Lastly, I appreciated some special comments that a few of you made – It “is so nice to know that there are actual people behind this email and not just a micro chip programmed to pump out the data each day.” Another reader wrote, “In this rat race and high technology world we live in, it is good to know that there are people out there like you that use it to give God honor and glory.”
We will keep proclaiming God’s Word on the Internet. . . you keep sharing it with others!
How has God used Anchor Your Life to draw you closer to Himself?
Does not the Word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yes, is it not an asbestos armor, against which the heat has no power? Let the affliction come–God has chosen me. Poverty, thou mayest stride in at my door; but God is in the house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, thou mayest intrude; but I have a balsam ready–God has chosen me. Whatever befall me in this vale of tears, I know that He has chosen me.
Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with thee. In all thy fiery trials, His presence is both thy comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own. “Fear not, for I am with thee,” is His sure word of promise to His chosen ones in “the furnace of affliction.” –C. H. Spurgeon
Pain’s furnace heat within me quivers,
God’s breath upon the flame doth blow;
And all my heart in anguish shivers
And trembles at the fiery glow;
And yet I whisper, “As God will!”
And in the hottest fire hold still.
He comes and lays my heart, all heated,
On the hard anvil, minded so
Into His own fair shape to beat it
With His great hammer, blow on blow;
And yet I whisper, “As God will!”
And at His heaviest blows hold still.
He takes my softened heart and beats it;
The sparks fly off at every blow;
He turns it o’er and o’er and heats it,
And lets it cool, and makes it glow;
And yet I whisper, “As God will!”
And in His mighty hand hold still.
Why should I murmur? for the sorrow
Thus only longer-lived would be;
The end may come, and will tomorrow,
When God has done His work in me;
So I say trusting, “As God will!”
And, trusting to the end, hold still.
The burden of suffering seems a tombstone hung about our necks, while in reality it is only the weight which is necessary to keep down the diver while he is hunting for pearls. –Richter
The public domain version of this classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert. This first edition was published in 1925 and the wording is preserved as originally written. Connotations of words may have changed over the years and are not meant to be offensive.
By far and away the most oft asked question that I field is: “How can I know God’s will?” The primary way of knowing God’s will is through God’s Word! God’s Word will never contradict His will. If you don’t know God’s Word, dig in and you will find His will! Look at some of the ways that God’s Word works in our lives.
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (NIV) Joshua 1:8
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV) 2 Timothy 3:16-17
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (NIV) Psalm 119:9-11
He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.” (NAS) John 14:21
How well do you know God’s Word? Not just your favorite passages, but the whole book? What will it take to for you to become better acquainted with God’s Word so that you will know His will?
Jesus made it very clear that a relationship with Him is the only way that someone will have eternal life in Heaven. No one comes to the Father except through Christ (John 14:6), but also, no one can come to Christ unless the Father has enabled him (John 6:65).
There are not many ways to God. Just as there are not many names for the same God. There is only one Christ – the only person ever, who lived, who died, and who was raised from the dead, never to die again! He is the only Man who has defeated death! Many people today are saying that there are various ways to get to Heaven, that Jesus is not the only way, but that contradicts the Bible. The next time someone tells you that they have a different ticket to Heaven other than through a relationship with Jesus Christ, point them to John 14:6 and ask them how to explain their viewpoint in light of that verse.
Written by Marji “Mike” Kruger
I Seek You with all my heart. . .I have hidden Your word in my heart. . .I delight in Your decrees. . .I have set my heart on Your laws. . .I run in the path of Your commands. . .turn my heart, my eyes toward Your statutes. . .I have put my hope in Your laws. . .Your decrees are the theme of my song. . .You are my portion. . .I have sought your face with all my heart. . . at midnight I rise to give you thanks. . .I keep Your precepts with all my heart. . .I have put my hope in Your Word. . .My soul faints with longing for your salvation.
I have sought out Your precepts. . .I will ponder Your statutes. . .I meditate on it all day long. . .Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. . .my heart is set on keeping Your decrees. . .I stand in awe of Your laws. . . I open my mouth and pant, longing for Your commands. . .streams of tears flow from my eyes for Your law is not obeyed. . .my zeal wears me out.
I call with all my heart. . .I rise before dawn and cry out to You. . .my eyes stay open through the watches of the night. . . I love Your precepts. . .my heart trembles at Your word. . .I love Your law. . .7 times a day I praise You. . .I wait for Your salvation, I follow Your commands, I obey Your statutes, for I love them greatly. . .may my lips overflow, my tongue sing. . . I long for Your salvation. . .Your law is my delight. . .I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek Your servant, for I have not forgotten Your commands.
A prayer to pray:
Oh Lord, I long to have a passion for You and Your Word like that. I want an unquenchable passion to know You and Your Word. And yet the author is very honest. Even he strayed from You, “like a lost sheep.” He knows that only You can seek Him out, find him, deliver him. Father, I want that passion. Forgive me for turning away from You and pursuing other things. . .forgive me for when I choose to dwell on impure thoughts. . .there is no good thing in me. I want to echo Psalm 16:2: I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” (NIV) There is no good in me, only You. The incredible thing is that that is enough. Amen